The ancient Romans enjoyed wearing jewellery, especially rings, as a way to demonstrate their wealth and social status in Roman society. Under the Roman republic, gold rings were the reserve of elites-ambassadors, noblemen, and senators. Yet gradually these rings permeated to persons of lower social rank. Imperial Rome was abundant in goldsmith’s workshops to cater to the demands of the public. Rings were worn by men, women and children. Rings could have been modelled in gold, silver or bronze, and enriched by precious and semi-precious stones, or even glass. Their popularity was attested to by the numerous discoveries on Roman era sites. Early Roman rings took on features of Hellenistic and Etruscan jewellery. Later ones acquired distinctive Roman style – such as greater use of coloured stones, engraved gems and bigger sizes, in keeping with the ostentatious spirit of the empire.
Ancient Roman Child’s Gold and Carnelian Ring
An ancient Roman small gold ring, featuring a round hoop band with expanding shoulders which have been engraved with geometric patterns, now worn over time. The oval bezel is adorned with four small triangles and a cabochon carnelian stone inset. Inner diameter of the ring is circa 1cm. The small size of the ring suggest that it was most likely made for a child. The carnelian stone was an immensely popular stone believed by the Romans believed to be capable of warding off evil. Hence this ring probably served a protective purpose.
Provenance: From a private London based ancient jewellery collection, 1970's.
Condition: Fine condition. Minor signs of deposit and wear on the surface of the ring.